Small shop, big results

Extending capabilities for an office of one with 360Alumni

Group of High-school students cheering at a sports game.

The Challenge
Wheaton Academy is a top-ranking Christian high school in Illinois with 6,000 living alumni. Their alumni relations department consists of one full-time staff member. Wheaton Academy had little experience with online alumni networking tools, but recognized that extending their digital strategy was critical for the long-term success of their program.

When Dawn Earl, Director of Alumni Relations, began research on solutions to their engagement and data challenges, she assumed she would have to work with multiple providers to bring their vision to reality. Upon discovering 360Alumni, she realized she could get everything she needed in a single platform, plus the strategic and tactical support to extend her capabilities and make her program successful.

Dawn knew selecting 360Alumni was a great decision, but had never launched an online community and wasn’t sure where to begin. The 360Alumni team quickly addressed Wheaton's concerns, partnered with them on a data and communications plan, and assured them they would be there every step of the way, and we were.

The Solution - Getting Started
360Alumni’s Support team worked closely with Dawn to understand the Wheaton brand, objectives and how their alumni currently engage, then created their branded community portal to match the look and feel of Wheaton’s website.

360Alumni then advised on long-term data strategy and profile field structure for their directory, ensuring that users could easily update their information and use the network - whether a rising alum from the class of 2015, or a legacy donor from the class of 1955.

As part of the setup process for every client, 360Alumni normalizes, deduplicates, geocodes and validates emails for the client’s alumni data. The result is more trustworthy data and a higher activation rate. Like many 360Alumni clients, Dawn appreciated the ‘fresh start’ and the opportunity to discuss strategies with her colleagues to upgrade and consilidate their data strategy.

Home Screen from 360Alumni's Wheaton Academy Profile.

"The 360Alumni team is invaluable to me. They are dedicated to my success and are valued colleagues and co-workers I can count on."
— Dawn Earl, Director of Alumni Relations

Email Marketing Wizardry
Email marketing is a key element of any alumni relations program. 360Alumni ensured that Dawn was fully trained in our  integrated email marketing tools. The Success team advised on marketing strategy and even helped lay out and edit her campaigns.

Dawn developed the skills and confidence to create impactful email messages that inspire her constituents to engage with Wheaton and support each other. With 360Alumni as a partner, Dawn has ongoing access to an ‘agency’ with deep expertise in alumni relations, digital engagement, marketing and fundraising.

Homecoming was Just the Beginning
360Alumni helped Dawn set up, promote and manage her first major initiative, the Wheaton Academy Homecoming. This program included establishing groups around specific class years. For the Class of 1967, for example, members were able to use the discussion area to post questions about old friends and the upcoming reunion. After the event, Dawn used the media carousel to share photos with members of the community.

Since then, Dawn has organized dozens of events and used 360Alumni’s sharing tools to promote them on social media. She is curating content in 19 groups, including one for their Board, and has sent hundreds of beautifully branded emails.

Partners for the Long Run
Launching the new program was just the start of 360Alumni’s relationship with Wheaton Academy. The Success team meets regularly with Dawn, and collaborates using shared planning documents to support her in achieving her engagement goals.

Dawn has been able to streamline her work and no longer feels like a ‘one-person shop’. She knows she has the experience, skills and commitment of the 360Alumni team right there with her. Alumni engagement at Wheaton Academy now grows every day, in every way!

Picture of marketing email from Wheaton AcademyPicture of marketing email from Wheaton Academy